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Windows 7: Can I safely delete two old OS and their installed apps?

26 May 2014   #1

Windows 7 SP1 Home Premium 32
Can I safely delete two old OS and their installed apps?

I had a motherboard failure. I moved my 2 hard disks to a new computer, and installed a new OEM copy of Win 7 as drive C:, with new installation of apps.
The old computer had Win 7 and XP dual-booting in two drives on the same physical disk. Both of them, with all their installed apps, are redundant and dead as far as I’m concerned. They’re on a separate physical disk from drive C:.
Is it safe to delete them? I'd prefer not to format because there are also a lot of data files on it.

I used EasyBCD to check where the machine’s booting from, with this result:

“There is one entry in the Windows bootloader.
Default: Windows 7
Timeout: 30 seconds
Boot Drive: C:\
Entry #1
Name: Windows 7
BCD ID: {current}
Drive: C:\
Bootloader Path: \Windows\system32\winload.exe”

My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 May 2014   #2

Windows 10 64 bit

You can delete the OS files without affecting the user data. However, as you need to have a backup (for WHEN a hard drive fails, not IF) I would copy all the user data to a folder on the new drive, then format the old drive. Use the old drive as backup for the new drive using a full hard drive backup program such as Macrium Reflect (I don't like the Windows backup as it is not a full backup like the commercial backup programs).

BTW. you don't need Easy BCD to find out what is the boot drive. Just go to the System Configuration Panel (msconfig) and display the Boot. Click the Start orb and then enter either "System Configuration" or "msconfig" and press enter. The panel will come up and in the Boot Tab will be what OS (or OS's) are there. In fact if you had a dual boot of say Win 7 and Win XP in that panel and you wanted to remove XP all you have to do is delete it from that panel.

Here is mine, I have a dual boot with Win 7 and Win 8. Win 7 is set as the "default" during boot up.

Attached Images
Can I safely delete two old OS and their installed apps?-boot-config.jpg 
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 May 2014   #3
Microsoft MVP


If you installed the new Win7 to its HD with the old HD plugged in then it should have configured a Multi-Boot with the boot files remaining on the old HD. Do you have a boot menu at Startup?

Best to post back a screenshot of Disk Management - Post a Screen Capture Image so we can look it over for you.

The correct way to uninstall any OS is to delete its partition in Disk Mgmt, or wipe its HD using Diskpart Clean Command. This removes boot code and partition table which can interfere later.

Your old OS's could be adjusted to start on new hardware using Adjust Win7 to boot on new hardware with Paragon Adaptive Restore CD .

Otherwise I'd move the data off the old HD to wipe or delete its partitions, repartition as a data drive in Disk Mgmt.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

26 May 2014   #4

Windows 7 SP1 Home Premium 32

Many thanks to both for fast response!
I've taken the point about backing up!
gregrocker: I installed the new Win 7 before I plugged in the disk containing the old OS. (Both old OS were OEM, so I assumed they wouldn't activate on the new computer. A pity I hadn't read the article on switching to new motherboard! My loss.) So there's no boot menu at startup, and only one OS shows up with msconfig.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Can I safely delete two old OS and their installed apps?

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